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Introducing...THE SNUZZ!!!

Better late than never...I have finally posted a video showing our 10-Behavior Chain. We don't have access to our footage from our final, so this is just a practice video and the quality isn't terrific, but you can still see the chain fluidly in its entirety. The chain itself is:

Sit/Stay (stationary exercise)
Stand (hand signal)
Back up (visual cue - written sign)
Go to Mat (go to a target)
Play Horseshoes (horseshoe itself is cue to retrieve it and put it on the stake)
Easy Button (paw target)
Lip smack (sound cue - look closely for her doing it)

The purpose of behavior chains is to get animals to do long sequences of behavior without having to stop and give them (tangible) reinforcement like food or playing after each behavior. So watch carefully - each cue in the chain is given when you WOULD HAVE rewarded the dog with food. So the CUES actually serve as reinforcement! Enjoy the video!


I am proud to say that Snuzz and I passed our Karen Pryor Academy teaching & training exams with flying colors! We "aced" our 10-behavior chain on Saturday, and I give her all the credit for going into it without a care in the world and keeping me calm. What surprised me was how nervous I felt before my teaching exam! I've been teaching classes professionally since 1995 and don't remember ever feeling as nervous as I did preparing to teach a group of my peers.

This course was a huge commitment of time and energy. Not only did it challenge me to improve my skills and knowledge as a trainer and teacher, but it brought The Snuzz into our lives and for that I will be forever grateful!


Snuzz and I had a blast at our last Karen Pryor Academy workshop weekend! We got to show off her duration work - she impressed her classmates with her 10-step "back up" behavior. She was especially sharp on her distance work, giving fast responses to her sit, down & stand cues from over 20' away! Her "compound cue" challenge was also a big hit - we combined "down" and "back up" into "Scootch!", where she shuffles backward in a down position - very funny!!!

Our final workshop and assessment is just over 2 weeks away. We are hard at work on our "10-behavior chain", a requirement for graduation. She must perform the correct behaviors for 10 cues I give in a row - there must not be a break between behaviors, and only one reward is given at the end. The behavior chain must include: a duration behavior, a targeting behavior, a behavior where she interacts with a prop, as well as a variety of cues: verbal, visual, hand signals...even sound & scent cues!

Check back soon for a video of our 10-Behavior Chain!


For those of you just tuning in...Snuzzle is now 8 months old and growing up nicely! We are working hard on our Karen Pryor Academy coursework, including advanced training like responding to cues at a distance, "modifier cues" (teaching a dog concepts such as left & right, up & down, big & small, etc.).

We are also working hard on our basic manners, like polite greetings and loose leash walking. We had a huge party at our home on July 3rd and I am proud to say that we had 70 guests and Snuzzle jumped on only one! It is nice to see all our hard work paying off!

So stay tuned to hear what's next in Snuzz's adventures...we head back up to Massachusettes soon for our third KPA workshop and look forward to showing off her newest skills!


This introduction is way overdue, but we proudly introduce Snuzz, the latest addition to the Happy Dog family and Rassiger household! She is a 6 month old Golden Doodle, and seems to represent the best of both breeds.

She arrived in late February and got right to work on the the Karen Pryor Academy curriculum with Ellen. When not training she is busy chasing Ludwig's tail (much to his chagrin) and creating lots of typical puppy mayhem! She is also trying hard to make friends with Kuchen, who still rules the roost even at the grand old age of almost-thirteen. 

Snuzz was a star at her latest KPA workshop, taking part in a long group training exercise in front of Karen Pryor herself...who complimented Snuzz and gave her a pet on the head. I was very pleased by her work on the demo, but even more proud that she gave Karen a "four on the floor" greeting!!

Snuzz is also known as Snuzzle, Snuzzadoodle, Snuzzaluffagus, Snuzzasaurus, and Houdoggie (for her Houdini-like qualities)...feel free to make up your own Snuzzanickname and send it in!

Keep an eye on this page for an update on Snuzzle's training adventures.

Happy Dog Training     (631) 424-DOGS/3647     Long Island, New York 

Voted 1st Place Winner "Best Dog Trainer",
Best of Long Island Contest  - SIX times